1684 (1977) Mather Essay Providences 162 RI, The Spit was carried up Chimney, and came down with the point forward, and stuck in the Back-log. 1845 Judd Margaret 158 NEng, In the cavernous fire-place burns a great fire, composed of a huge green back-log, a large green forestick, and a high cob-work of crooked and knotty refuse-wood, ivy, hornbeam and beech. 1869 Chase Hist. Old Chester 409 seNH, They would first put on a “back-log,” from a foot to a foot and a half in diameter, and a “back-stick,” smaller, on the top, then a “fore-stick,” and small wood in front laid on andirons, if they were able to have them, if not, on stones. 1877 VT State Bd. Ag. Report 4.92 nVT (as of c1825), Provided with a handsled, the boy would first roll on to it the back log, one and a half or two feet in diameter and four feet long; . . roll off the log in the usual place at one side of the fire place, on the floor; return to the wood-yard for the back stick and fore stick, and again two or three loads of split wood. 1913 (1980) Hardy OH Schoolmistress 17 (as of c1850), It [=the fireplace] was wide enough and deep enough to take in a back log which had to be rolled into the house and into the fireplace because it was too heavy to be carried by the man who was making the fire. On top of the back log was laid the back stick. 1931 AmSp 7.92 eKY, Back-log, a large log, placed at the back of the chimney in an open fireplace. “Git a buckeye back-log ’n’ a hickory forestick if you want a hot lastin’ fire.” 1941 LANE Map 330, [The map shows backlog to be current throughout NEng]. 1952 in 1958 Brewer Dog Ghosts 28 TX [Black], Tecks his ax an’ staa’ts to whackin’ down a few trees so’s he kin cut ’im a few backlogs for his fiahplace. 1962 PADS 38.66, On the basis of the interview response alone, back log seems to be a fairly strong Midland word. The checklists, however, point out that the term is also used widely in the Northern area. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. D33, When you build a fire in the fireplace . . the big log that goes behind the others) 516 Infs, widespread, Backlog. 2008 NY Times (NY) 10 Feb (Internet), The first element of Mr. Van Over’s fireplace architecture, above the ashes, is the backlog—the largest log, eight to ten inches in diameter, and put, naturally, in the back.
2 Transf: a wife. joc
[. . .]